Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor -- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be -- That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks -- for His kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation -- for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of His Providence which we experienced in the tranquility [sic], union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed -- for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted -- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions -- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually -- to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed -- to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn [sic] kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord -- To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease [sic] of science among them and us -- and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York
the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789
George Washington

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Greed: Bah! Humbug!

During an interview to puff his new movie, A Christmas Carol, Jim Carrey decided to join the long line of knuckleheads that are blaming capitalism for our nation’s present economic crisis:

“I was thinking about it this morning, how this story ties into everything we’re going through,” says Carrey, who, thanks to the technology, plays Scrooge as well as the three ghosts haunting him. “Every construct we’ve built in American life is falling apart. Why? Because of personal greed and ambition. Capitalism without regulation can’t protect us against personal greed."

As Mark Steyn points out over on one of National Review’s blog sites, "The Corner," if the guy was all that troubled about the consequences of capitalism he could have stayed in Canada and made movies for the State owned production companies for 3 or 4 hundred thousand dollars per movie, rather than going to Hollywood and being paid 20 million per movie.

Greed is a very difficult thing to spot, as it purports to look into the hearts of men and women and accurately discern their motives.

Is every wealthy person and business tycoon guilty of greed?

Is greed the only possible motive for doing what they did in achieving their success?

Is acting in your best self-interest synonymous with greed?

And so what if these people are greedy? If the law says, “You can’t lie, steal or force me to buy your product,” then whatever these people are doing can only be accomplished through voluntary arrangements.

I think that when people today rail against greed what they are often saying is this:

I see a need that I believe must be met.

You have “plenty” of money and, therefore, must meet that need.

Your refusal to do so tells us that you are a greedy person.

Of course, from here they begin demanding that the government confiscate the greedy person’s money and give it to the needy. However, has any of these people ever stopped to think about who or what will defend us from a greedy government? Are governments, which are made up of people Just Like Us, immune to greed? No, they are not. And what makes their greed most dangerous is that they are not restricted by voluntary arrangements.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Laura!

Where else would a goddess
pose but at a Temple, eh?

Laura never spoke baby talk or gibberish.
Her first words were spoken from her highchair:

Get Me Down,

Thus announcing
who was in charge

from then on.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Road Less Traveled

My one regret in life is that I am not someone else. Woody Allen

For the longest time I was intrigued by and a bit jealous of those people that appeared to have their lives all mapped out. “In five years I will be here; in ten years, there; and, in fifteen years, at the top of the heap.” While their career path looked like a highway with signs that read, “In two miles you will be turning onto the Yellow Brick Rd.,” mine has been more like a snaking pathway through a dense forest enveloped in foggy mists that swallow you up and never spit you out.

“How in the heck did I get here?”

“Maybe I should have gone there.”

“This is not even a pathway … is it?“


“I took the one less traveled by, and that made all the difference,” (Frost) sounds so romantic and adventurous when you are twenty, but after a decade or two you begin wondering if the reason your road is less traveled is because no sane person would ever freely choose to walk this way.

Fact is, however, even those people zooming down a well-lit highway are often wondering if they are wandering.

“Do I really want to go here?”

“What difference is it really going to make if I don’t go there?”

“This is a fairly wide road … maybe I am headed toward destruction?” (Matthew 7:13,14)

My guess is that when most people evaluate their journeys they wrestle with would’a-could’a-should’a, imposter syndrome, and other such second-guessing brought on by self-doubt. After all, not being gods, none of us are perfect or omniscient. This is why our journeys—the quests we engage in—are acts of faith, not certainty.

I have come to believe that, at the end of the day, what matters most is not so much what path we chose, but who we are becoming while we traverse our chosen paths.

Are we giving ourselves to what matters most? (And what, he asks, “Matters most”? Why faith, hope and love, of course!)

Are we constantly educating ourselves in great ideas and values?

Are we caring for our bodies and souls?

Are we seeking after the God who is Love, Light and Life?

So, whether you are zooming down an interstate or crawling along a path through underbrush, don’t become so focused on the destinations for which you aspire that you lose sight of the one that is taking the journey… for what does it profit a man or woman who arrives at the Yellow Brick Rd with a shriveled up soul?

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2009